In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: After death

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Mid-1850s

Whitman Archive ID: uva.00133

Source: Papers of Walt Whitman (MSS 3829), Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature, Albert H. Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. Transcribed from digital images of the original. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: This manuscript was probably written in the mid-1850s. The lines beginning "After death" are not known to have been published in Whitman's lifetime. The lines on the verso, beginning "I have all lives," are likely related to the poem first published in the 1856 edition of Leaves of Grass as "Poem of The Sayers of The Words of The Earth" and ultimately entitled "A Song of the Rolling Earth." Because the handwriting is similar on the two sides, we have included them both here as a single text.

Contributors to digital file: Nicole Gray, Andrew Jewell, Kenneth Price, Brett Barney, Nick Krauter, and Joshua Ranger

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After death.

Others hold levee in life,— ^ After death ^Now ^when I am looked back upon, I will I hold
I levee, after death,

I lean on my left elbow—I
take ten thousand lovers, one
after another, by my right hand.—

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I have all lives, all effects, all
causes, all germes, invisibly
hidden in myself,

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This is the earth's word—the round
and compact earth's,

I and the earth th truth are one, we are
curiously welded,

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